History of the School

The School celebrated its Centenary in 2012, having been founded on the present site by Alice, Katrine and Mary Baird. The Baird sisters ran a school in the Malverns and in May 1912 they opened Abbot’s Hill as an independent boarding school for girls.

The School’s Main Building was originally built in 1836 by the paper manufacturer, John Dickinson, as a home for him and his family and he named it Abbot’s Hill. The Dickinson family founded one of the world’s largest stationery firms of the 19th and 20th centuries.

On John Dickinson’s death in 1869, Abbot’s Hill passed to his only surviving son John and in then in 1908 to Sir Arthur Evans. Arthur Evans, the Archaeologist and discoverer of Knossos, was John Dickinson’s great-grandson and had spent part of his childhood at Abbot’s Hill. He did not however return to live there but arranged for it to be sold to the Baird sisters.

Over the years, the School has developed and grown in a variety of ways, but the key milestones in its history were in 1969, when St Nicholas House School moved to the Abbot’s Hill site to form the Junior Department and in 2003, when boarding ceased. However, the School retains ‘its boarding feel’, which is to be seen in the extended school day, the emphasis given to extra-curricular pursuits, the intrinsic importance of pastoral care and the School’s strong sense of community.

Notable former pupils include:

The late Lady Joan Stuart-Smith, former Justice of the Peace and created Life President of Abbot’s Hill in 1997
Jane Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, model
Anne Sorby, MI6 Special Agent involved in the efforts to restore British prestige in the Far East after the fall of Hong Kong
Katharine Elliot, Baroness Elliot of Harwood, public servant and politician
Marilyn Okoro, British 800m and 4 x 400m Athlete
Zara Brownless, BBC Young Apprentice 2011 Winner